Girardelli, Marc


Girardelli, Marc
▪ 1994

      An Austrian-born Alpine ski racer who represented Luxembourg could justly claim to be the most versatile performer in his sport since becoming, in 1989, the first to end a season as the top points scorer in all four World Cup disciplines. By March 1993, at the age of 29, Marc Girardelli had achieved overall victory in the men's World Cup for a record fifth time. Those five triumphs were spread over eight years that were punctuated by a spate of injuries serious enough to discourage a lesser man, but each time he came back to prove a remarkable survivor. Once the left half of his body was so weakened that he had to undergo an exceptionally rigorous training program, embellished by weight lifting and long mountain runs.

      Born on July 18, 1963, at Lustenau, Austria, and coached by his father, Helmut, Girardelli made his debut on the cup circuit at 15. In January 1993, at St. Anton, Austria, he gained his 40th cup race victory, a career achievement bettered only by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden. Using his physical strength and unorthodox stance to telling effect, he had always made the slalom his forte and, as a result, he gained particular satisfaction from winning his first downhill race in cup competition in 1989 on the Hahnenkamm course at Kitzbühel, Austria. He promptly followed this with two more downhill victories in quick succession at Wengen, Switz., to demonstrate an unmatched all-round ability.

      For one appearing not to take world championship events quite so earnestly as World Cup races, Girardelli nonetheless achieved an impressive list of championship accomplishments, beginning in 1985 at Bormio, Italy, when he was runner-up in the slalom and third in the giant slalom. He won the Alpine combination and finished second in both the slalom and giant slalom in 1987 at Crans-Montana, Switz. In 1989 he again won the combination and finished third in the slalom at Vail, Colo., and in 1991 at Saalbach, Austria, he finally won the slalom. In 1993 at Morioka, Japan, he placed second in the slalom and third in the combination. Although an Olympic gold medal so far had eluded him, he hoped to rectify the situation in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway. In the 1992 Olympics, he finished second in the giant slalom and supergiant slalom.

      A dedicated perfectionist, Girardelli said, "To top the winner's podium, you simply can't afford to make any mistake at all. It's absolutely essential to pay attention to even the smallest detail." (HOWARD BASS)

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Universalium. 2010.

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